Yijun Liao 廖逸君 – aka Pixy – is a female artist born and raised in Shanghai, who now resides in New York. Pixy Liao is exemplary of a new generation of artists experimenting with the possibilities of portraiture and photography. Her ongoing long-term project Experimental Relationship began in 2007. The works, depicting modern partnership, emerge from her own personal experience and intimate space, yet take into account socio-cultural pressures, issues of nationality in a globalized world and the dynamics of gender roles, significant both within the Chinese context and internationally.
In this work, she stages photographs with her Japanese boyfriend, Moro, to explore how national culture influences and dictates interactions in a romantic relationship. In her photographs, Liao often portrays herself in a dominant role, while her boyfriend assumes positions of submission. She credits Moro, five years her junior, as inspiration for this ongoing series, explaining, “Moro made me realize that heterosexual relationships do not need to be standardized. The purpose of this experiment is to break the inherent relationship model and reach a new equilibrium.” Liao structures her images to appear often above her boyfriend, looking down on him from above, or fully clothed while he is naked. These subtle stagings intelligently reverse “expected” gender roles in the image.
This work forces the viewer to question his/her gaze and to take part in the couple’s performance which seems to continue long after the photograph is taken and hung on the wall. Each scene, staged meticulously to reference normative gestures from visual culture or socio-cultural tendencies, becomes active when we, the viewers, interact with it— imbuing it with our individual, private, cultural and gender bias.
More information: pixyliao.com